Ala Wai Elementary School

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, United States

Project Team

See this video of Ala Wai Elementary School’s kindergarten and second grade students-in-action as they journey through self-discovery and inquiry-based learning, while exploring alternative ways to solving real-world issues.


Lynn Masuda, Kindergarten Teacher and Lori Maihui, Second Grade Teacher


Concerned about food self-reliance and self-sufficiency as well as the harmfulness of pesticides and the spread of dengue fever and Zika virus, these future leaders of Hawaiʻi decide that they will grow their own food and make nature-based, eco-friendly mosquito repellents for themselves and their homes.


Growing Your Own Food

Project Team: Kindergarten

After learning that more than 90% of the food they eat is shipped into Hawaii from the U.S. mainland and foreign countries, these students studied budgeting and also learned about plant growth and food safety, including pesticide use or natural remedies before planting a garden. Learn more about their garden and what they did with their harvest.


Eco-Friendly Mosquito Repellents that Work

Project Team: Second Grade

These students don’t want to see dengue fever and Zika virus spread in their community, but they are also concerned about the harmful effects of chemical remedies on the environment. See what ideas they have for effective, eco-friendly mosquito repellents.


  1. melody delostrico
    November 15, 2016

    The students creating a unique project on the inner ear was creative and informative. My students reviewed the video footage and were very impressed with the use of cotton balls on the board for the inner ear. They made connections with cotton in the ear making it hard to hear. My students also believe Ala Wai Elementary demonstrate a higher level of knowledge in Science and commented on the school teaching their students a lot. The ending of the video was especially funny and enjoyable. Primly is the word used by one of my students to describe the level of learning the viewed.

    • Your School Name: Connections PCS 3rd Grade Class
  2. samantha ho
    September 8, 2016

    The projects that both classes created were amazing and so creative! Congratulations on growing so much corn in your garden, it must have felt very rewarding when you were able to eat everything that you grew! I think its great that they know how to plant a garden from such a young age, no doubt it will help them in the future! I loved your idea to use CDs to keep the birds away it is such a creative idea! The mosquito repellant idea is a really good idea, I like how you have incorporated health and current events into a second grade curriculum. The machines you created for keeping airborne pathogens and ebola germs at bay are so innovative and creative. I definitely could not have been able to come up with an idea like that by myself. I like how you have made your second graders aware of the dangers of germs, pathogens, and mosquitos from such a young age. I really liked the projects you and your class have made and I hope they continue to keep the mosquitos and germs away!

    • Your School Name: Scarsdale High School
  3. paige l.
    September 8, 2016

    I think it’s a wonderful idea that you’re growing food locally and that you’re incorporating your concern for the environment and dangers of pesticides in with your project.

    • Your School Name: Scarsdale High School
  4. nico cavalluzzi
    September 8, 2016

    To the Ala Wai Elementary School Students,

    I’m amazed to see the effort and heart you put into your projects! I’m fascinated by the research you preformed and what you were able to accomplish. Seeing the thought process and what you thought about with regards to mosquito repellent and good germs was superb! Also, I’ve loved reading about the kindergarten garden, I personally believe that home and town gardens are the way of the future. I can’t wait to see what else your school accomplishes in the future, and I hope you continue to respect the earth and its organisms.

    • Your School Name: Scarsdale High School
  5. devin mcdonald
    September 8, 2016

    The children growing their own food is economically and environmentally beneficial. I was also never aware that only female mosquitoes bit humans, in order to obtain blood to lay their eggs.

    • Your School Name: Scarsdale High School

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